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Back of the Restaurant

(by Eva Zelig)

I am the product of two cultures: that of my parents who abandoned a comfortable life to escape the rising holocaust in Czechoslovakia, and that of my birthplace: Ecuador, the South American country where they found refuge. At the time, it was exotic and unfamiliar to Europeans—underdeveloped, largely rural, and poor. In the port city of Guayaquil, where they settled several years after arriving, the rainy season brought a plague of crickets that landed on people and coated the streets like a brown blanket.

My parents had a difficult time adapting to a culture that was so different from their own. After trying various unsuccessful enterprises, they settled on a restaurant business, specializing in Czech and Hungarian cuisines, which were almost unknown in their host country and greatly appreciated by the locals.